Spring cleaning guide: Tips to freshen your house top to bottom

Looking to get spring started with a clean slate in your home? We've got helpful tips for doing an effective spring clean — and for keeping things fresh throughout the year
By Astrid Van Den Broek
woman, sheets, cleaning Getty Images

Tired of the heavy drapes? Can’t stand to look at your salt-licked boot tray anymore? If so, perhaps a spring clean is in order. Here’s our guide to getting your clean on.

Declutter it
Most good cleans start with a little clearing away of items we don’t use any more...a.k.a. decluttering. To get your decluttering going, grab a box or basket, and toss in items that can be either thrown out or if they’re still in good condition or donated to outlets such as Goodwill (small furniture, clothes, knick knacks, toys, etc.) or the Salvation Army (clothes, media, house wares, furniture, etc.). If you’re looking to bring in some cash, try reselling your items on Craigslist or Kijiji.

This is also the time to clear away that winter gear. “But launder your stuff before you put them away,” suggests Amelia Mackie, a Molly Maid franchise owner in Mississauga, Ont. “So if there are snowsuits and winter coats in there, get them cleaned or dry cleaned. Because if there are any stains or any dirt left they’ll probably cause more of a stain.”


Get cleaning
Once your decluttering is done, here are some basic areas to cover in your spring clean:
1. Windows and window treatments: Out go the heavy drapes, in come the lighter-touch curtains and opaque blinds. And don’t forget to clean your windows too. Clean them one way on the outside (i.e. horizontally) and another way on the inside (i.e. vertically) — if there are streaks afterward, the direction of the streak should be able to tell you what side of the window it’s on. “To clean, we usually use a tiny drop of dish soap and some vinegar and water — we find that that cuts through almost anything that’s built up on the windows over winter,” says Mackie. “And you can use newspaper to clean the windows as well.”

2. Under furniture: Spring is the time to actually move your furniture around and vacuum or wash the floor under it to get at all that dust and debris that’s settled in over winter, says Mackie.  Look up, too,  with a cloth that’s slightly damp and attached to the end of a broom to get at cobwebs hiding in the corners.

3. Mattresses: Spring is an easy time to remember to flip and rotate your mattress to sustain its lifespan. (If you have a pillow-top mattress, you won’t need to flip it.) For daily mattress care, Mackie suggests trying Molly Maid’s "new" way to make a bed. “Over the winter you’re sweating in the bed and leaving moisture behind,” she says. “So starting in the spring, every morning open your window and throw back the sheets to let the bed air out for 15-20 minutes. That should dry up any moisture left behind in the bed and cut down on bacteria, dust mites and more.”


4. Dusting: While dusting should be done regularly to avoid build up and dust mites, this is the time to pull books off the shelf and dust there and in the other corners of your home. While dusters that attract dust work well, you can also just use a microfiber cloth spritzed with water to pull off dust.

4. Bathrooms: “Germs and bacteria tend to build over the winter because your home is closed up and you don’t have any fresh air circulating,” says Mackie. “So look for areas that trap moisture, such as bathrooms.” Garbage cans, for instance: instead of just replacing the bag when changing over your garbage, Mackie suggests a good wipe out of the can with a disinfectant or rubbing alcohol (this dries quickly and then you can simply replace the bag). Also if you haven’t already, give your shower curtains a launder to remove any smells or stains.


Keep that clean feeling

Love that spring fresh, clean smell? If so, use these tips to maintain the cleanliness of your home.
• “Clean top to bottom, because you want to bring the dust from the roof down and then out the door,” says Mackie. That means dusting before vacuuming, and wiping down furniture before washing the floors.

• If you’re tackling a room, work from left to right in a circle. “That way if you get interrupted, you can remember where you stopped,” says Mackie. “When you’re running all around the room, you’re wasting time and energy.”


• Can’t keep all your cleaning products organized? Here are the essentials Molly Maid suggests: a good window/glass cleaner, an all-purpose cleaner, a tile/grout cleaner and a toilet bowl cleaner.


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